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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been fishing for a couple evenings at Belmont Harbor for Smallmouth and witnessed people setting fairly large nets off of the pier next to the gas pumping station. I was wondering if anyone could shed some light on this?
Is this illegal? Is this commercial? Are these for catching bait? Or is this simply a practice that is allowed in Illinois? I am from Michigan and nets of this size usually require commercial licenses. Some exceptions do occur throughout the season though, ex.(sucker run, minnow nets). If anyone has
information I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks
 

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Those guys are smelt netting and can legally fish from 7:00PM to 1:00AM. The season runs from April 1st thru the 30th, although there hasn't been any decent smelt in ages. Currently smelt netting is just an excuse to hang out, grill some brats, and drink a few cold sodas (cough, cough).
 

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How large is fairly large? Smelt nets can't be over 6' x 12'.
Many moons ago the "Ultimate Bucket People" used to run nets several hundred feet long (for anything that swam) until they were educated on fishing regs (or arrested).
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
That makes sense, thanks. They looked to be 6'-12', so that looked big to me. Where I am from (Lake Huron) people use dip nets for smelt. Smelt dipping has been horrible for many years now there as well.
 
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